COLON, MI — Rideshare services are slowing way down in a western Michigan community, where an entrepreneurial Amish farmer has established what he calls “Amish Uber” — a horse-drawn buggy that takes passengers on a scenic ride through St. Joseph County, home to Michigan’s largest settlement of Amish people.
Timothy Hochstedler is offering the service for $5 a ride. But unlike traditional Uber, users don’t need an app on their cellphones to order a ride — primarily because Hochstedler and other Amish eschew such modern contraptions in their simple, plain lives. Instead, they just flag the buggy down, as they would a taxi cab.
Along the way, Hochstedler shares stories of the Amish in his area of Michigan.
“Uber is a cool thing, every single year something new comes in and Uber is hot right now, so we have the Amish Uber,” Hochstedler told television station WWMT. “We can deliver people to their front door steps.”
His buggy is hitched to a Morgan that Hochstedler says “love people.”
“A Morgan is a people’s horse,” he told the television station. “They love giving you a kiss or whatever.”
Hochstedler said most of his customers aren’t from Colon, but he sometimes gets requests from locals to take them to one destination or another.
Bruce Jordan, who recently traveled from Grand Rapids to Colon with his grandchildren for an Amish Uber ride, said the experience was “fascinating.”
“It’s not an activity you typically associate with the Amish,” he said.
The service isn’t affiliated with Uber and he’s unofficially appropriated the name to describe his service, Hochstedler noted.
The Amish arrived in Michigan in 1895 and the population numbers around 11,000 — which makes is the sixth-largest population of Amish in the United States. Most live in St. Joseph County, where about 1,500 Amish live in Centreville, a community founded in 1910.
Michigan has the sixth-largest concentration of Amish people, behind Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and New York, respectively.
For more on this story, go to WWMT-TV.
File photo by John Greim / Shutterstock
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